Denis Hogan believes Make A Challenge will be his best bet to secure a victory on Irish Champions Weekend when the five-year-old runs in the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes at The Curragh this Sunday.
Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Hogan explained how Make A Challenge has taken on the role of stable star with back-to-back wins following the tragic loss of Sceptical last month.
The Cloughjordan conjuror also has a couple of other prospects he feels could catch the eye this week and was happy to give Paddy the lowdown during an in-depth interview at his Tipperary base.
“We’ve been blessed with Make A Challenge – he’s really stepped up a gear since we lost Sceptical and he’s really flying the flag for us,” said Hogan.
“He was very impressive in Navan and The Curragh and he’s had a really nice prep going into the Flying Five. We just need a little bit of rain during the week and we’ll have a big chance.
“My dad’s looking for dry weather to harvest some corn so I can’t say it too loud. He owns a leg in him so I can’t say too much!”
— Navan Racecourse (@NavanRacecourse) August 29, 2020
When asked about his tactics to get the best out of Make A Challenge, Hogan is keen to learn from past mistakes.
“I suppose we generally keep it simple and the only time we got it wrong this year was when we actually tried to hold him up in the Greenlands,” he added.
“He broke well and I was quite adamant that we’d take a lead, take a sit and he got disappointed when we took back and Speak In Colours got first run and we never really got going that day so ever since we just jump and wherever he wants to travel and we just don’t take him back.”
Meanwhile, Hogan has picked out Dalvey and Big Baby Bull as two more runners who could win big for punters this weekend.
He said: “I think Dalvey will run in the mile and a quarter handicap at The Curragh – the Northfields [Sunday 5.50pm] – and he’s had a little break, he’s just back.
“Big Baby Bull will run in the Sovereign Path at Leopardstown, the last race on Saturday [5.50pm]. He didn’t handle the hill or the ground in Galway and we’re hoping he can bounce back on nicer ground in Leopardstown.
“He’s the winner of a premier handicap this season already and I think he can be very competitive again.”
Asked for his best chance at a winner, Hogan said: “I would say definitely Make A Challenge – hopefully he can give us our first Group 1.”
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